You might think that receiving $1.6 billion in government cheese would give a bank a new-found sense of humility. But Chicago-based Northern Trust hosted its Northern Trust Open PGA Tour event over the weekend and TMZ reports that "We're told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking."
Hundreds of clients and employees were flown to LA and put up in the fanciest hotels in town (which, being L.A., are pretty darn fancy). Entertainment was provided by big-budget acts like Sheryl Crow, Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago because Northern Trust is based in Chicago. Get it? That's clever stuff. There was also enough seared salmon and petite Angus fillet for everyone.
In a statement to TMZ, Northern Trust pulled the old "Don't worry! We paid for the orgy with different money. Your bailout money is safe!" In fairness, this isn't quite as bad as the shenanigans at AIG because Northern Trust was not completely bailed out. It accepted a loan offered by the government aimed at stimulating lending.
But here's what I don't understand: Given that United States taxpayers are contributing to this company's financial health, aren't we just as entitled to seared salmon and Sheryl Crow as the VIPs?
Tell Northern Trust that we're willing to forgive this PR miscue if they send us tickets to a Phil Mickelson meet and greet, along with vouchers for free suites at the Casa Del Mar. Sound fair?
Northern Trust has a TARP party